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OUT OF THE DYING PAN, A Deep Fried Mystery,

by Linda Reilly, March 1, 2016, $7.99


A Guest Blog Post by Linda Reilly

Talia Marby, newly-minted entrepreneur and owner of Fry Me a Sliver, is back . . . and she’s creating new recipes! She can’t help wondering, though, if she might have been a bit crazy to take over a thriving fish and chips shop in the Berkshires and convert it to a deep-fried eatery. And right in the midst of the December holiday crunch! What was she thinking?

Of course she never would have made it this far if she hadn’t first solved a murder. Her dear friend Bea Lambert, who owned the original eatery with her hubby, had been accused of bumping off a fellow merchant. Talia knew the accusation was nonsense, but convincing the police had proved tricky. Luckily, it all ended happily—with the real killer in prison and Bea a free woman. Retired now and headed for Myrtle Beach, the Lamberts are thrilled that they handed over their pride and joy—Lambert’s Fish & Chips—to the woman who’s been like a daughter to them.

But now Talia has two new problems. First, she needs capable employees. She’s already hired a surly woman with a secretive past, and a college-aged boy with a knack for dropping things. Will either one last at the job? She’s beginning to think not.

Second, and even more daunting, she has to concoct some recipes. Sure, nearly anything can be deep-fried. But choosing the right items for her fresh new menu is proving to be a challenge. There is, however, one tasty delight that she’s definitely adding to the menu: deep-fried meatballs.

Talia spent much of her childhood at her grandmother’s elbow, watching her make homemade meatballs. Nana never made them the same way twice. Depending on whom she was feeding, a bit of tweaking with herbs, garlic, or grated cheese had always been involved. After several tries, Talia perfected her own version of those scrumptious meatballs, but she still had to devise a way to deep-fry them. She first tried using a bread crumb coating, but wasn’t thrilled with the result. Then she experimented with a batter similar to the one used for the haddock, and eventually landed on the recipe that worked best. Now picture this . . . a soft, tangy meatball with a crisp batter coating, fresh out of the fryer and drizzled with a river of spicy marinara. Yum . . .

Operating a deep-fry eatery is hard work—harder than Talia ever imagined. Still, she can’t help feeling a zing of excitement every time a hungry customer raves over her deep-fried meatballs, or over any of the deep-fried goodies she’s been adding to her menu.

So the next time you’re in the mood for deep-fry, you might consider joining Talia and crew at Fry Me a Sliver. And who knows? While you’re there, you might even pick up a tidbit of gossip about the town’s latest murder . . .